Smokers urged to ‘take back control’ this January
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Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your heart health
The HSE is urging people who smoke to make 2023 the year they take back control by quitting smoking. The Executive has also launched a new campaign showing how people who smoke can start to take back control over their addiction in 28 days with help from the Quit service.
According to the latest data, almost one in five people in Ireland still smoke and the prevalence of smoking in Ireland remains unchanged since 2019 at 18 per cent.
Once you stop smoking, your mental and physical health improves immediately. After one year, your risk of having a heart attack is cut to half that of a smoker. A smoker is twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as a non-smoker.
Dr Paul Kavanagh, HSE Public Health Medicine Lead with the Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, explained, “While we have made good progress in tackling smoking over the last two decades, smoking continues to cause harm on a huge scale in Ireland. Each week, almost 100 people die and 1,000 people are hospitalised because of smoking-related disease. This is preventable, and stopping smoking remains the single most important thing you can do for your health.
“I am concerned by recent trends in smoking as reported in the Healthy Ireland Survey which shows that reductions in smoking prevalence may have stalled. It’s important we recognise that smoking is an addiction, not a choice. And like any addiction, it can be very hard to overcome and start to take back control without the right support.
“As we move into a new year, it’s a great opportunity for people who smoke to reach out to HSE QUIT services for support. If someone has been smoking for many years, taking that first step to being smoke-free can feel huge,” Dr Kavanagh added.
The HSE is urging people who smoke to make 2023 the year that they ‘take back control’ by quitting smoking. Healthy Ireland surveys repeatedly show that people who smoke are interested in quitting. In 2022, one in two of those who smoked in the past year have attempted to quit, and three-in-four were successful in quitting smoking.
Martina Blake, National Lead, HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, said, “In developing our new advertising campaign, we listened carefully to people who smoke so we could better understand how we can connect with and support them to quit. They told us about the control smoking has over them and across many aspects of their lives and how their daily routines and habits are set for them by their smoking. People often leave social situations to go outside to smoke. They told us how the costs, about €100 per week, means smoking also has control over their finances.”
“It’s all too easy to see smoking as an individual choice. However, the reality we are calling out in our new advertising campaign is that smoking is highly addictive and takes control of people’s lives. People who smoke told us they want to take back control. The HSE Quit services are here to help with support that tackles the addictive nature of smoking. Many people will try to quit cold turkey without any help or support, but nicotine is highly addictive”.
“You are 5 times more likely to quit for good if you stop smoking for 28 days. And you further increase your chances of quitting if you get support from the Quit service. Our trained stop smoking advisors can work with you to create a personalised stop smoking plan tailored to fit your lifestyle. They can also advise you on Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT), doubling your chance of quitting by helping address the physical cravings,” Martina added.
Top tips for quitting smoking successfully:
- Don’t feel you need to go it alone. HSE QUIT is there for you to help you take this step with simple, practical and effective help, maximising your chance of staying quit for good.
- Focus on the goal to stay smoke-free for 28 days. Once people get to that goal, they are up to 5 times more likely to stay quit for good.
- Use stop-smoking medicine, like Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). This is a safe, effective and clinically sound way of getting through the first 28 days and dealing with cravings.
Quit supports available:
The HSE Quit service provides personalised evidence-based support to help you quit. You can tailor your own plan using any combination of the support options:
An online-personalised Quit plan where you can track your progress
Text message or phone support from the Freephone Quitline 1800 201 203
Advice on Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and stop smoking medication
Daily tips and support from people who have quit and who are trying to quit on the You Can Quit Facebook page
Face to face and group support from local community-based services.
For more information on supports to help you quit smoking from the Irish Heart Foundation please see here